As we prepare to enter our sixth week under “stay at home” orders in Chicago, the emotional and physical toll is beginning to set in for many. With it comes an increase in the temptation to point fingers and join the misinformation and political campaigning that divides rather than unites under the circumstances. It’s important we acknowledge any feelings of deep confusion, anger, fear, and sadness. These are normal responses in times of loss and trauma. Christians are not immune to such feelings, nor should we be. They humbly remind us of our shared humanity in brokenness, suffering, and fragility. These days are tragic, but also a gift. Because when we’re confronted with the stark reality of who we are before God, we begin to find true freedom and our purpose in life.Continue reading “The Pain of Today Strengthens You For Tomorrow”
As cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) begin to rise across the globe, governments are instituting travel restrictions, encouraging social distancing, canceling major community and social events, establishing quarantines, and in some cases imposing large-scale lockdowns. Such disruptive measures to daily life in the free world are naturally upsetting and worrisome. Anxiety is already high for many. In the days of social media, fake news, polarized politics, and ideological tribalism, it’s hard to know who or what is trustworthy. One thing is for certain, COVID-19 is here, and governments are taking unprecedented action not seen in generations.Continue reading “Dear Church, This is Our Moment”
Exhaustion, fatigue, and apathy are worn today like it’s poorly in style and there’s a good chance you are wearing it too. We all are, and it’s a tell-tale sign we as a humanity are hurting and unhealthy. It’s about time for an overdue wardrobe change. Continue reading “Rest for the Soul”
In a modern, science-based, data-driven society, everyday supernatural miracles are often difficult to ascertain. Even in our evangelical circles that have a strong emphasis on a ministry of the word (teaching and studying the Bible), we have a tendency to over-intellectualize our reading of scripture and downplay the spiritual activity of God. At Restoration Church, we have sought to recover and acknowledge all that God has done and is actively doing in our world, both through a ministry of his Word, but also through the power of his Spirit.
So if I may, allow me to share a story with you.
Conflict is an unfortunate reality of life. We experience conflicts in three primary areas – between others, self and creation. There is no shortage of examples of conflict in the news lately: Hurricane Harvey, Charlottesville, North Korea, violence in Chicago, and the list goes on. This doesn’t even include the personal conflicts that we encounter on an everyday basis with our spouse or significant other, children, our coworkers, or the car that cut you off in traffic yesterday.
Conflicts have this way of bringing out a whole range of emotions and responses in us. Did you know that our response to conflicts expose the quality of our relationship with God? A right relationship with God, therefore, actually renews our approach to conflict in every sphere of life. Below is a sermon I preached this summer on this very topic from 1 Samuel 24.
With the affluence of technology such as email and text messaging, handwritten letters are quickly growing out of style and practice especially among the younger generation. I myself am included in this and the evidence is in my rapidly deteriorating handwriting. Likewise, as affluent Westerners with access to everything and any anything within the free two-day shipping window through Amazon, our dependence on a sovereign and loving Lord becomes less appealing and necessary. As a result, our prayer life becomes less used and therefore out of style and practice.
However, prayer is not reserved only for the moments when we need something, but rather is best understood in the context of a relationship between you and a Holy God. Although your methods of communication between friends and family have changed, the nature and purpose of your communication has not. We still communicate with those whom we love, need and intimately understand us.
Reignite your prayer life with this encouraging and grace-saturated sermon, “The Practice of Prayer”, from Matthew 6:5-15.
It’s been a tough few weeks. Actually, it’s been a tough couple of years in America. We haven’t seen such division in our country since the Civil Rights movement from the 1960’s. It would seem that not a week goes by where there isn’t a protest gone bad, unjust violence, or the spewing of hate-filled speech. This year’s election season was brutal. A nation filled with groups of blacks, whites, Evangelicals, Muslims and LGBT, each feeling marginalized and unheard. Each shouting louder through the soft glows of their computer screens and cell phones on social media. Each rallying around political figureheads that will do the shouting for them on national television. Each seeking to wedge their ideological beliefs and agendas into the public sphere. Each seeking to change the mindset of America “for the better”. Continue reading “The Path to Peace and Unity”
If you’re anything like me, I want to be on the winning team, or at the very least, rooting for the winning team. I like to win as much as anyone else. I don’t consider myself a sore-loser, but seriously, who really enjoys losing? I can lose and still respect the winning team, but I would rather be standing in their shoes, basking in the glory of victory by overcoming the opposition.
Our walk of faith and approach to God is often pitted in a win-lose situation. We struggle to walk by faith because we doubt God’s ability to win the battles of adversity, hardship and suffering we encounter in our lives. We assume because we encounter trials, struggles and pain, somehow we have already lost. But have we even watched a single game of football in our life? Pain is part of the game. Whether you win or you lose, you are bound to take a hard hit as part of the struggle to reign victoriously at the end of the fourth quarter. Our problem is simple: we doubt God’s ability to win the battles in our life despite the necessary pain that comes with winning in a fallen world.
If you need encouragement today over the battles in your life, then hear this: God always wins! The following is Part 2 of a sermon series looking at the life of King Hezekiah.
I see my daughter wading through the chilly waters of a tiny lake a few blocks from our home on a warm spring day in late April. She slowly steps in by first dipping her toes, then her foot, followed by an adventurous spirit to keep on going. She does not spend much time thinking about the potential dangers of the water or what lurks underneath, or even how cold the water is. In other words, she doesn’t depend on her “own understanding.”